I have never been a fan of the rotating captain system, or the 3 A’s system without a captain. I am a firm believer that any well run team needs a leader, just like a business. Someone to be the buffer between coach and the players. Someone to have the final say for the players, and that one player that everyone respects, looks up to, and relys on during the tough times. Last year the Florida Panthers operated without a captain and I believe that by not having that one individual in the room that was the leader may have been just another reason that they missed the playoffs.
Cory Stillman, Stephen Weiss, Bryan McCabe, Keith Ballard, and the departed Jay Bouwmeester all wore the A last year at one time or another, with no one player being captain. This year that must change. It is an absolute necessity if this team is going to make any attempt to move forward. The team is lacking leadership and the naming of a captain will go a long way in eliminating that problem. I also suggest that head coach Peter DeBoer name his captain at or before the first session of training camp so that going in, the players know who it is. I don’t think that we need to wait to see who emerges as the leader.
Make a decision now and stand by it until you feel that it was the wrong decision.
Now, there are not alot of candidtes to choose from to actually take the post, but if I were the coach, I would give the “C” to defenseman Keith Ballard. Ballard proved himself last year in a number of areas and was everything the Panthers expected of him and more. A solid defenseman who can move the puck, make that first quick pass out of the zone, and provide some solid defense . He also has that edge to him. Can play with some snarl when needed. He’ll deliver the big check when needed. Rememeber the hip check against Evgeni Malkin? Classic. That’s the style of play that captains are made of. The stlye of play that this team needs to emulate.
So if it were up to me and it’s not, I would give Keith Ballard the captaincy today. Let him know it and get used to it, and let his teammates know it as well. It would defintely be a step in the right direction and some much needed positive news for this dull summer.
Thanks for reading!